We recently discovered that my Papou – Steve Kelaidis – led a posse to try and capture a man named Tony Gerakis after he had shot my other Papou Pete Regas. ( Kind of like an episode from the TV show Dynasty ). Gerakis managed to avoid the posse and hid in the mountains . Several days later he turned himself in to the sheriff. He confessed to the shooting and told the sheriff that he wanted protection from Steve Kelaidis, because he was deadly with a gun. He also told the sheriff that he was afraid that Papou Kelaidis would still be able to get to him inside the jail.

Now, I had always been told by many family members that Papou had a slight Cretan temper. However, I always remember Papou as a very kind and gentle man to his grandchildren. We would sit on his lap and help him play cards. Sure he was loud and cussed a bit ( he was Greek – right?). My mom would always tell him ” Dad you shouldn’t say those things in front of the kids”. He would answer back ” It won’t be the first time they hear such things. Better they should hear them at home first so they can ask questions” . ( Greek logic ).

My parents and other family members have often said that I remind them of Papou. I take that as a compliment. Papou was just an “average uneducated coal miner” but his love for his family and loyalty to his friends knew no bounds. If at the end of my life, I have accomplished even just half of what Papou did then my life will have been a success. May His Memory Be Eternal ( With stories like this I am sure it will be).

Advertisements